Media view: Local reporter insight on Reading

Charles Watts on what Bolton fans can expect at Reading this weekend

Ahead of Bolton’s trip to face Reading this weekend, Charles Watts from speaks to to preview the game at the Madejski Stadium. Are you able to clarify the recent situation surrounding the future of Steve Clarke at Reading?

CW: He was wanted by Fulham to fill the recent post vacated by Kit Symons. There were discussions between Clarke and Fulham, but somewhere along the line he decided the move wasn’t right and to stay at Reading. Speaking in his pre-match press conference on Friday Clarke had very much drawn a line in the sand and stated that it was time to move on and focus on football. The situation has left a bit of a bitter taste in the mouths of the supporters and the reception Clarke gets on Saturday afternoon will certainly be interesting, but I think once the game starts everyone will be solely focussed on that. How would you summarise Reading’s season so far?

CW: It’s been a bit up and down. Inside the first two games they were playing really well and picking up results. They won at Brentford and went on an impressive run of scoring plenty of goals and not conceding too many. The football has been good and they were knocking the ball around well and hunting in packs when out possession. That said, of late the wheels have come off somewhat and they’ve struggled with a few injuries which has led to a bit of an unbalance in in midfield. At the moment they’re just outside play-offs and I think if you’d have offered them that at the start of the season everyone would have taken it. How have Reading approached home games at the Madejski Stadium this season?

CW: They’ve been attacking from the off and really looking to start games quickly. They’ve scored early goals in games and if anything they’ve maybe been a bit too gung-ho at times. Of late they have shipped a few goals in a 4-3-3 formation that has quite often been a bit attack-minded. Against Bolton Clarke may possibly look to tighten things up given the recent problems, but that said he may go the other way and try attack a side that are struggling at the wrong end of the table. Who are the key players in this Reading side?

CW: It has been Nick Blackman all season. He has 11 goals and six assists to his name this term and has been a real revelation. He had previously been in and out of the side over the last few years, but he’s exploded into form and has scored different kinds of goals. He’s a real threat and all things that are good about Reading’s play generally comes through him. And a prediction?

CW: For me it all depends on how Reading react. The players will be relieved Clarke is still there and I think they’ll respond and get back to winning ways. I’m going for a 2-0 home win. 

Charles is on Twitter, @charles_watts.

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